The Gotha G.V Bomber

The Gotha G.V Bomber of World War 1

The Gotha G.V was a heavy bomber used by the Luftstreitkräfte (Imperial German Air Service) during World War I.

Designed for long-range service, the Gotha G.V was used principally as a night bomber.

Operational use of the Gotha G.IV demonstrated that the incorporation of the fuel tanks into the engine nacelles was a mistake.

In a crash landing, the tanks could rupture and spill fuel onto the hot engines.

This posed a serious problem because landing accidents caused 75% of operational losses.

In response, Gothaer produced the G.V, which housed its fuel tanks inside the fuselage.

The smaller engine nacelles were mounted on struts above the lower wing.

The Gotha G.V pilot seat was offset to port, with the fuel tanks immediately behind.

This blocked the connecting walkway that previously on earlier machines allowed crew members to move between the three gun stations.

All bombs were carried externally in this model. The base variant of G.V offered no performance improvement over the G.IV. 

The G.V was up to 450 kg (990 lb) heavier than the G.IV due to additional equipment and the use of insufficiently seasoned timber.

The Mercedes D.IVa engines could not produce the rated 190 kW (260 hp) due to inferior quality of fuel. Gotha tunnel

The Gotha included an important innovation in the form of a “gun tunnel”, whereby the underside of the rear fuselage was arched, early versions allowing placement of a rearward-facing machine gun, protecting against attack from below, removing the blind spot.

Later versions expanded the tunnel to remove the lower gun, providing a slot in the upper fuselage that allowed the rear gunner to remain stationary.

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